GUN VIOLENCE REALITIES – STATISTICS CAN MISLEAD

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Source: Roger Froikin. March 2024

I bet you expected, with this title, to see a diatribe in favor of banning guns in the USA. You would be wrong. I simply want to look at the statistics and understand where the problems are, why there is so much gun violence, so many shootings, and by whom. I do not favor some facile “let’s take the guns away” solution that ignores why Colt called his revolver, the “equalizer”.

If you look at the facts of Gun Ownership in the USA, you see something interesting. The overwhelming bulk of guns is owned disproportionally by the parts of the community that never been involved in gun violence. 95% of the guns in the USA are owned by the part of the population that produces less than 1.5 % of the problems involving guns.

So, what characterizes a person who is involved in gun violence? The profile would go like this: male, young, raised in a single-parent household in a major city, father’s generally absent or unknown, often connected to alcohol or drugs.

Note that I did not mention race – because race has nothing to do with it. The problem is sociological, not genetic. Black people in intact family situations, concerned about their children, have no more violence, nor gun violence than Whites in stable two-parent families, and gun ownership figures about the same.

So, if you want a solution, instead of taking away guns, and the protection people believe they provide, how about tending to the problems – the sociological problems that define 90% or more of those who have misused weapons would probably use some other kind of weapon.

Yet, dealing with real problems takes time, thinking, and patience, and is harder than the rather childish demands of those who think taking away guns solves the problems. And it is also more effective than couching everything in terms of race.

One more thing. Some groups on the political left have put out statistics claiming that gun associated crime is lower in the large “blue” cities” than in the USA at large. That is true. But the reason is that these large “blue” cities are generally cities where guns are banned and a much lower percentage of the population owns weapons, plus in these “blue” cities, prosecutions have declined to hold, charge, and prosecute large numbers of offenders, which lowers the statistic for those cities.

Same with crime statistics in general. To compare New York where one can loot stores, shoplift, and even assault cops in public on a city street and not be penalized, with Cincinnati (for example) where such crimes are prosecuted and criminals penalized, is a joke at best. Fact. Crime in the USA has increased, especially in “blue cities” but that is not reflected accurately in terms of arrests, prosecutions, and convictions.

The first lesson in this that statistics can inform or misinform. Look beyond them to see what the figures might mean, and do not trust those who use statistics to misinform.

The second lesson is this: Do not try to solve a problem without understanding why the problem is there. Everyone has headaches. Treating all headaches with aspirin just because it is an easy solution, does not work when the headache is some cause that one does not want to consider, like meningitis. We have a systemic problem in this country today, the breakdown in the nuclear family, the lack of moral standards and judgment, and an increase in narcissism that underlies the gun violence. Banning guns will not solve the problems any more than treating meningitis with aspirin.